Generally speaking, the topic of AIDS or HIV are not really opted for in casual discussion. With the exception of World AIDS Day, conversations about the virus, the search for a cure, and the ongoing role it plays in our international public health policies, may lie mostly dormant. For me, it took finding out that someone I knew was infected to start talking and researching the issue. My concern led me to realize how many individuals are actively, and vocally, committed to the cause.
The fight against HIV/AIDS has been a growing concern for younger generations, including a group of student AIDS activist from Yale University. In yesterday’s New York Times
, David Carel, a Yale senior, reportedly “heckled the president of the United States”, and along with the other protesters accused President Obama for not keeping his word in the fight against AIDS (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/us/politics/01aids.html
). Dr. Paul E.
Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, and a past presenter at CHF, was featured in the piece, noting that the protesters’ efforts to keep politicians accountable was the key to the continued, and important, focus on issues in public health, claiming that “these students are my retirement plan.” These sometimes difficult conversations are essential for us each to have and our study guides can help you find ways to jump-start these discussions in your classroom. For more insights from Paul Farmer, check out CHF lesson plan “Facing History and Ourselves”: http://www.chicagohumanities.org/Genres/Public-Affairs/2009-Facing-History-Ourselves-Paul-Farmer-Partners-in-Health.aspx
One day of acknowledgement for the AIDS and HIV epidemic is not enough. The awareness should continuously be highlighted full scale, particularly with a target towards our nation’s youth, no matter how challenging it may be. Do you have other suggestions on how you help your students critically examine topics that impact both our health and current affairs?
Tags: teaching, public health, Paul Farmer